Ailing Gol Gumbaz’s whispers go unheard

The mega structure with 124 feet diameter dome situated on a sprawling 70 acres, was built as a mausoleum for Mohammed Adil Shah in 1656. DH File Photo

Close on the heels of Supreme Court expressing concern over deteriorating condition of Taj Mahal, heritage activists from North Karnataka have started crying hoarse over the deteriorating condition of the world famous Gol Gumbaz in Vijayapur. Due to lack of proper maintenance, the majestic historical building is disintegrating day by day.

The Gol Gumbaz, one of the Centrally Protected Monuments is under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Union Culture Ministry. As the ASI has failed to take conservation measures regularly, the heritage structure is losing its sheen and strength, they said.

The mega structure with 124 feet diameter dome situated on sprawling 70 acres, was built as a mausoleum for Mohammed Adil Shah in 1656. The unique character of this building is that it has a whispering gallery. Because of its archaeological and cultural value, the Union government has declared it as the Centrally Protected Monument and handed over its maintenance to the ASI.

The heritage building has started developing cracks on its dome and corner minarets. Even walls and the parapet of the building have developed cracks from where rainwater is seeping inside the building, posing a serious threat to the structure. The plaster has been peeling off. This is evident especially along the staircase and on walls where one can see huge holes. Its white colour is turning to brownish. No major conservation work has been taken to protect the building in the recent past. If the building is left like this there are chances that the iconic building may suffer irreversible damage soon.

Official apathy

“The higher officials come to Vijayapura from ASI Dharwad Circle to inspect the status of the monuments. But are they really concerned about the conservation of the heritage sites or are they visiting the city just to claim travel allowance and dearness allowance,” wonders Dr H G Daddi of Bagalkot, who has been fighting for the protection of Adil Shahi monuments for the past three decades.

He said, the local ASI officials, headed by a deputy superintendent of archaeology, have utterly failed to protect the Centrally Protected Monuments in Vijayapur. They were interested only in monetary benefits from their government job. “Taking cosmetic conservation works will not save the heritage building. What we need is committed and genuine work to save the historical buildings,” he said.

Expressing anger against the ASI for its failure to save the great heritage building,
cultural activist Manoj Hanagal from Hubballi said, The mausoleum has developed cracks on its dome. There are cracks in the parapet, corner domes too. Rainwater seepage is hurting the structure further. If the situation continues, the Gol Gumbaz would be at great risk. ASI officials should up their sleeves to save the structure.”

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Ailing Gol Gumbaz’s whispers go unheard

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